Change a final y to i before a suffix unless

Not that correct spelling is easy for most of us. Just think cough vs. dough and hiccough vs. laugh. Then there are all those sound-alikes, such as theretheir, and they’re, allowed and aloud. Mind boggling, no? Plus there are some 90 English spelling rules to follow! These three top the list:

  1. Use i before e-except after c or when sounded as long “a,” as in receive and deceiveneighbor and weigh. Exceptions to the rule include weirdancient, and foreign.
  2. Drop the final e before a suffix (word ending) that starts with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y) but not a consonant, as in ridinghopingguidanceentirely, and likeness. Exceptions to the rule include truly and noticeable.
  3. Change a final y to i before a suffix unless it ends in i, as in partiestriestrying, and copying. Exceptions to the rule include journeying and memorize.

Moreover, while reading and spelling are directly linked, spelling is the harder to grasp. As Yale University researcher Sally Shaywitz explains: “Reading is transforming letters into sound. Spelling is just the reverse, but you don’t start with something you can see on a page.”

And all that makes Kevin Cui even more remarkable. Not only is he the 2014 Times Herald Spelling Bee champ, he’s only a 5th grader. This unprecedented feat has, indeed, made him the pride of Methacton School District’s Skyview Upper Elementary School in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Last year, the award went to Spring-Ford Intermediate School’s Ashraya Ananthanarayanan, an 8th grader.

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